Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nature Sketching

A really fun day.  We had intended to do a nature walk, but rain threatened and while I like walking in the rain, sketching in the rain is a bit more challenging.
 
Our facilitator was the well-acclaimed John Muir Laws, known for great tips about understanding animal anatomy in order to better sketch them.  He didn't delve into that much this time, perhaps because the trip was full of people who have walked with him before.
 
Some tips we learned: 
  • Record what you see (words or drawings)
  • Be willing to change the size of what you are drawing
  • It is okay to start and not finish
  • Be intentional with your curiosity.
  • Record behavior and then predict - say your observations out loud - this will help you to record them
 
What I especially liked about his approach was that it wasn't sketching for the sake of accuracy alone, but as part of scientific inquiry and nurturing curiosity.  The location was a delight too; while we were initially disappointed to miss the outdoor walk, we were pleased that instead we got to experience the Oakland Museum, which is fabulous and - on a rainy weekend day - devoid of the crowds that plague museum experiences across the bay.  In addition to the taxidermy animals in the museum, we saw carp and sturgeon (some in our party vociferously argued it was shark) in a pond outside, an adult black crowned night heron fishing, and "best view of mallard courtship" that our facilitator had ever seen.
 
Sharing sketches
Others share again while these three check out the carp and the Night Heron
K sketched a "cartoon" bear, using some of the techniques mentioned

 
 

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